Lee, Saalfrank lead Eastern volleyball in weekend split

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Lee, Saalfrank lead Eastern volleyball in weekend split

Blake Nash, Staff Reporter

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Three straight wins have been hard to come by for the Eastern volleyball team this season.

The Panthers have won three straight once during the first month of the season, but haven’t been able to accomplish that same feat recently. That now includes Saturday’s match when the Panthers lost to Southeast Missouri in five sets.

Juniors Chelsea Lee and Abby Saalfrank led the Panthers’ attack with 17 and 22 kills, respectively. Saalfrank also added an ace, four digs, and two blocks capping off a fine weekend.

Southeast Missouri’s Taylor Masterson led her team with 16 kills, while seniors Andrea Baylin and Kelsey Keeve added 12 kills for the Redhawks, who’ve now won two in a row following a sweep over Southern Illinois-Edwardsville on Friday.

Freshman Nzingha Clarke added 10 kills and made her presence known at the net with eight blocks

The Panthers took the first set 25-23, while the Redhawks took the next two sets, 25-23, and 25-19, leading by as much as eight points in the third set.

Eastern rallied behind Marah Bradbury’s 15 assists to take the fourth set, until falling in the fifth and deciding set 15-10.

Bradbury finished with a double-double, comprising 60 assists and 13 digs, for her sixth double-double of the season. Freshman Maria Brown led all players with five blocks, and recorded her second career double-double with 10 kills and 13 digs.

Junior libero Stephanie Wallace tied Brown and Bradbury with 13 digs as well.

On Friday, Lee and Saalfrank once again led the Panthers offensively with 17 and 12 kills, apiece, in a four-set victory over Tennessee-Martin. Eastern dropped the first set 25-22, but won the next three 25-23, 25-21, and 25-23 for the victory.

Bradbury came one dig shy of a double-double with nine, but dished out 44 assists, three blocks, and two kills for the Panthers.

Brown and fellow freshman Josie Winner each chipped in eight kills, while Brown also recorded 10 digs and 4 service aces. Classmate Allie Hueston led all players with six blocks, and the libero Wallace led all players with 17 digs.

Seniors Kelsey Brooke and Dakota Springer registered 11 and 12 digs of their own.

The Skyhawks were led by senior Emily Keaton, who recorded 10 kills and 11 digs, for a double-double, while junior Chelsea Bowles led their team 16 digs.

Saturday’s loss moves the Panthers to 9-12 on the season, and 3-5 overall.

Their current four-match road trip continues next weekend as the Panthers will have rematches versus Austin Peay and Murray State on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

Blake Nash can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]